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DIY: Do It Yourself
Post here to share or improve your wrench turning skills! All BMW E46 DIY tips, tales, and projects discussed inside. Learn to work on your car and know the right BMW parts you will need!

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Old 08-31-2006, 09:59 AM   #1
vert
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RTAB replacement - special tool and some questions

Does anyone have a special tool for RTAB replacement and if yes - can I rent/borrow it from you? I was looking around and found the Victory tool but it's around 100 bucks which seems like a waste for a one-time (hopefully) job.

In addition, is 50K miles too low to worry about replacing the trailing arm bushings? I just replaced front control arms/bushings/tie rods/sway links and was going to get an alignment done. But then i was thinking that i might want to replace RTABs as well since this requires an alignment too. Bushings are cheap and DIY does not look that bad if you have the tool.

And finally, anybody knows where i can buy Meyle heavy duty RTABs?
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Old 09-16-2006, 06:13 PM   #2
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My right rear RTAB needs replacing and I am at 50K on a 2002 325ci.

Are there aftermarket ones for the same price or not much more than stock that I should consider?
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:00 PM   #3
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Quote:
Originally Posted by ganseg View Post
My right rear RTAB needs replacing and I am at 50K on a 2002 325ci.

Are there aftermarket ones for the same price or not much more than stock that I should consider?
I personally bought M3 upgraded RTAB's from www.autohausaz.com and will be installing them tomorrow. They are only a couple of bucks more than OEM style, so i figured i'd give it a shot. Bimmerworld sells powerflex urethane rtabs but i am not into replacing stock parts with urethane... i installed their powerflex control arms bushings and did not like the ride, so i'd rather go for oem like ride in the back too.

Ended up buying the tool from Victory - came to 115 bucks So if anybody wants to buy it after i'm done - pm me.
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:07 PM   #4
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i believe if you buy your RTABs from bimmerworld, you can rent the removal tool from them for $30. but from my personal experience, replacing the RTAB is a PITB!! the tool that you can buy or rent will require that you bend or break off the metal flange from the old RTAB before you can apply the tool to remove them. that flange is NOT easy to break or bend, not to mention, there is not much room down there to maneuver a tool to bend/break them. i eventually gave up and paid a shop to change them out. keep in mind that i've done virtually all repairs on my car myself (except for clutch replacement), and this job was the only job i felt was more hassle than it's worth the money i could save.
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:24 PM   #5
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Thanks, vert. Just ordered the M3 upgrade version. Will let the mech change them!
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:31 PM   #6
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from my personal experience, m3 RTABs are not that much better than regular e46 ones. i tore my last set of m3 RTABs in 12K miles. i replaced the torn m3 RTABs with powerflex ones and they do make the car feel tighter, although your car's ride will suffer when driving over broken pavement.
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Old 09-16-2006, 11:54 PM   #7
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vert, use the tool and return it. say you didn't need it ro something like that.

also, please give us some insight on the DIY as I want to replace mine. Bought M3 ones from Autohaus also.
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 09-17-2006, 05:15 PM   #8
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Quote:
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vert, use the tool and return it. say you didn't need it ro something like that.

also, please give us some insight on the DIY as I want to replace mine. Bought M3 ones from Autohaus also.
Just finished the diy. Took about 2 hours for both sides by myself. To summarize difficulty level, if you can replace front lower control arm bushings then you can do this. Notice i said bushings only and not the control arms. This is definitely a lot easier than doing the arms. I am very glad that i decided to try this myself instead of going to the shop. BUT - this assumes that you have the special tool that i used or something similar. I would not try to attempt this without it.. period. I read all the threads here talkig about drilling, sawing, cutting and that definitely is not worth my time.

I used this great writeup http://www.unitedbimmer.com/kb-e36-r...rmbrushing.php I did not have the same problems as the guy in the post with my RTAB puller and i did not have to use a drill. Everything pressed out and pressed in easily without any drama. I sprayed some wd-40 on the old bushings prior to pulling them, so that helped.

I am posting pictures below. If anybody needs this tool and does not want to drop $115 dollars like i did for a one-time job, contact me at arthur91(at)hotmail(dot)com and maybe we can work something out with a rental.
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Old 09-17-2006, 06:09 PM   #9
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How does one go about checking to see if the bushings need to be replaced?
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Old 09-17-2006, 08:14 PM   #10
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Quote:
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How does one go about checking to see if the bushings need to be replaced?
I had some bump steer from the rear of the car when going over bumps on the road. My car has 50K miles and it seems that one of the replacement items at this mileage is rtab's. They are cheap and relatively easy to do anyway. Since i just replaced front CA's and bushings and i was due for alignment, i figured might as well do rtab's to hopefully get rid of bumpsteer and only have to pay for one alignment.
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Old 09-17-2006, 09:25 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by vert View Post
I had some bump steer from the rear of the car when going over bumps on the road. My car has 50K miles and it seems that one of the replacement items at this mileage is rtab's. They are cheap and relatively easy to do anyway. Since i just replaced front CA's and bushings and i was due for alignment, i figured might as well do rtab's to hopefully get rid of bumpsteer and only have to pay for one alignment.
Did your old RTAB's looked shot?
I am at ~50k miles also and already have bushings purchased.

But I think I am gonna wait and do the RTAB's, replace crappy Hamburg Technic CAB's with OEM and swap my steering rack for 99 328i (01 330i one is way overboosted) at same time and then get my alignment.
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 09-18-2006, 08:15 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by croat View Post
Did your old RTAB's looked shot?
I am at ~50k miles also and already have bushings purchased.

But I think I am gonna wait and do the RTAB's, replace crappy Hamburg Technic CAB's with OEM and swap my steering rack for 99 328i (01 330i one is way overboosted) at same time and then get my alignment.
They looked all right - definitely not as good as new, but no major tears and cracks like when i replaced the Hamburg CAB's after only 2K miles. I just dropped my car for alignment so i should know more after i drive for a while. But driving to the dealership the car seems to have a more composed feel in the back. My loose 2001 steering rack was actually replaced under warranty by the previous owner, so i lucked out with that. I would also recommend Meyle CAB's instead of OEM.
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Old 09-18-2006, 01:34 PM   #13
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They looked all right - definitely not as good as new, but no major tears and cracks like when i replaced the Hamburg CAB's after only 2K miles. I just dropped my car for alignment so i should know more after i drive for a while. But driving to the dealership the car seems to have a more composed feel in the back. My loose 2001 steering rack was actually replaced under warranty by the previous owner, so i lucked out with that. I would also recommend Meyle CAB's instead of OEM.

You are so lucky on steering rack thing. But 328i one shouldn't be more than $250 and I read that it's definitelly a DIY.
As I said before, steering is the only thing that I hate about my car. Damn thing is all over the road, especially on the highway.

I got my CAB's from Interauto. I should check out if they carry Meyle's. I know for sure they have OEM ones.
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 09-20-2006, 08:42 AM   #14
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Did the M version require any extra work installing or are they just stiffer?
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Old 09-20-2006, 09:39 AM   #15
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Quote:
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Did the M version require any extra work installing or are they just stiffer?

They are designed a litlle different. No extra work if using the special tool.
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Old 09-20-2006, 01:26 PM   #16
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There was a bulliton at one time that stated BMW would pay for steering racks in those cars if cuistomer felt they wee to overboosted may want to check with your dealer, however thsi only aplies to original owners and cars under a certain milage
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Old 09-20-2006, 03:46 PM   #17
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There was a bulliton at one time that stated BMW would pay for steering racks in those cars if cuistomer felt they wee to overboosted may want to check with your dealer, however thsi only aplies to original owners and cars under a certain milage
Yup. I read about that. I am the 2nd owner and car has ~50k miles.
Another memeber here had this rack swapped for free by BMW and he was a 2nd owner.

Could you look up the bulletin number? I wanna call BMW Canada. You never know!
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so 2004 bmw's dont come with a diff?
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Old 09-20-2006, 05:55 PM   #18
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I looked for the number they may have deleted that bulition I would call BMW NA and say the steering does not feel like a BMW is there anything they can do about it I think it was more a silent campaign at the dealers.
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Old 10-08-2006, 07:46 PM   #19
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I will be doing my RTABs on October 21 and I've been thinking of how I could push them in without the special tool. To remove the old ones I am gonna use brute force (drill and other tools I can get my hands on )

Now to press the new RTAB's in, I am thinking of using C Clamp (I have a big, heavy duty one) or 3" bench vise. I have a brand new vise that's not mounted yet, so I could bring it to the car and put in a block so I would be in same level sa Trailing Arm. And then use that to push the bushing in? What you guys think?

Here's the drawing (excuse my poor drawing skills)
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Old 10-22-2006, 08:46 PM   #20
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Well I tried to change my RTABs today but failed miserably. I had my trailing arm down but I simply had no room to try to drill/jigsaw it out and than use C Clamp or Vise to press it in. I put everything back together and will have shop do it tomorrow before I have my alignment done.

Maybe I would give it better try but I've already worked my ass off on Saturday swapping steering rack, putting new CABs in and adjusting e-brake. I just don't want to get dirty anymore
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